Perfect academic emails require careful email etiquette that tends to repeatedly evade some students. Introductory lectures inevitably include a weary reminder from professors to ‘mind your mail manners’. We’re a group of aspiring professionals, and we’ve obviously made it to an institution of higher learning. So why are we failing this most basic test, every time we hit send?
Using an Appropriate Greeting
The first, and most overlooked faux pas, is choosing the wrong greeting. Professors, lecturers and tutors, can be cool and helpful. Don’t let this trick you into thinking they’re your friends. As soon as you start your academic emails with a casual ‘hey’ or ‘hi’, all it ends up doing is appearing disrespectful. Stick to the tried and tested classic of ‘Dear [name]’. It’s best practice to start off with the title-surname combination, such as Professor Smith, until you know they’re comfortable with you using their first name. Here is a full lowdown on all things greetings.
Academic Emails Don’t Need Abbreviations
When you’re a student and every course you take is demanding 12 hours of your time a day, forgoing email etiquette can be tempting. It’s so much simpler to chuck in a bunch of ‘U’s and ‘R’s (all in the name of saving time, of course). There are some abbreviations that are widely accepted (full list here). However, using ‘IMO’s and ‘TBH’s are going to lower the lecturer’s impression of you, and only end up saving you a negligible amount of time. Invest those extra 3 keystrokes into that email, those courses and their unrealistic time consuming neediness be damned.
Utilizing Your University-Issued Email Address
Here’s the thing – there’s only one lecturer, but hundreds of students. All firing emails at the poor academic, wanting extensions, clarified information and an appointment to discuss their last grade. So when a lecturer receives an email from a ‘iiprinc3szluvii’, it can be challenging identifying which of the 235 students they’re supposed to be identifying with. Just about every university provides students with easily identifiable institution addresses. Take this offering, and leave that gamer-tag from when you were 12 behind – it’s all in the name of email etiquette. Your street cred may take a hit, but your academic career and academic emails recipients will thank you.
Let us know in the comments below if you’ve ever sent or received a terrible academic email.
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